Nanomaterials2014, 4(3), 778-791; doi:10.3390/nano4030778 (registering DOI) - published 2 September 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: A viral β-annulus peptide connected with a zinc oxide (ZnO)-binding sequence (HCVAHR) at its N-terminal was synthesized, and the inclusion behavior of quantum-sized ZnO nanoparticles into the peptide nanocapsules formed by self-assembly of the peptide in water was investigated. Dynamic light scattering (DLS) measurements showed that ZnO nanoparticles (approximately 10 nm) in the presence of the peptide (0.1 mM) formed assemblies with an average size of 48 ± 24 nm, whereas ZnO nanoparticles in the absence of the peptide formed large aggregates. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) observations of the ZnO nanoparticles in the presence of the peptide revealed that ZnO nanoparticles were encapsulated into the peptide nanocapsules with a size of approximately 50 nm. Fluorescence spectra of a mixture of the peptide and ZnO nanoparticles suggested that the ZnO surface and the peptide interact. Template synthesis of ZnO nanoparticles with the peptide nanocapsules afforded larger nanoparticles (approximately 40 nm), which are not quantum-sized ZnO.
Nanomaterials2014, 4(3), 768-777; doi:10.3390/nano4030768 (registering DOI) - published 2 September 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: In this work, we report the formation of a family of organic micro-/nano-pillars prepared from surface-assisted self-assembly processes and factors controlling the growth of the pillars. These acids include cyanuric acid (CA), 1,3,5-benzenetricarboxylic acid (TMA), 1,2,4,5-benzenetetracarboxylic acid (TA) and 3,4,9,10-perylenetetracarboxylic acid (PTA). Aqueous solutions mixed with acids and melamine (M) can be fine-tuned to prepare ordered micro-/nano-pillars on substrates, which can be further optimized for their applications
Nanomaterials2014, 4(3), 766-767; doi:10.3390/nano4030766 - published 22 August 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: This Special Issue of Nanomaterials examines the potential for engineered nanomaterials to negatively impact biological systems and highlights some advances in evaluating key areas of their hazard potential. Nanomaterial science is evolving rapidly with the generation of more complex nanostructures with exciting potential applications. Keeping modern toxicology abreast of this innovation to the point that it guides a safer nanotechnology presents an equally exciting and eminently worthwhile challenge. [...]
Nanomaterials2014, 4(3), 741-765; doi:10.3390/nano4030741 - published 20 August 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: A variety of cyclodextrin-based molecular structures, with substitutions of either primary or secondary faces of the natural oligosaccharide macrocycles of α-, β-, or γ-cyclodextrins, have been designedtowards innovative applications of self-assembled cyclodextrin nanomaterials. Amphiphilic cyclodextrins have been obtained by chemical or enzymatic modifications of their macrocycles using phospholipidyl, peptidolipidyl, cholesteryl, and oligo(ethylene oxide) anchors as well as variable numbers of grafted hydrophobic hydrocarbon or fluorinated chains. These novel compounds may self-assemble in an aqueous medium into different types of supramolecular nanoassemblies (vesicles, micelles, nanorods, nanospheres, and other kinds of nanoparticles and liquid crystalline structures). This review discusses the supramolecular nanoarchitectures, which can be formed by amphiphilic cyclodextrin derivatives in mixtures with other molecules (phospholipids, surfactants, and olygonucleotides). Biomedical applications are foreseen for nanoencapsulation of drug molecules in the hydrophobic interchain volumes and nanocavities of the amphiphilic cyclodextrins (serving as drug carriers or pharmaceutical excipients), anticancer phototherapy, gene delivery, as well as for protection of instable active ingredients through inclusion complexation in nanostructured media.
Nanomaterials2014, 4(3), 726-740; doi:10.3390/nano4030726 - published 20 August 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Amyloid deposits are insoluble fibrous protein aggregates, identified in numerous diseases, which self-assemble through molecular recognition. This process is facilitated by short amino acid sequences, identified as minimal modules. Peptides corresponding to these motifs can be used for the formation of amyloid-like fibrillar assemblies in vitro. Such assemblies hold broad appeal in nanobiotechnology due to their ordered structure and to their ability to be functionalized. The catechol functional group, present in the non-coded L-3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine (DOPA) amino acid, can take part in diverse chemical interactions. Moreover, DOPA-incorporated polymers have demonstrated adhesive properties and redox activity. In this work, amyloid-like fibrillar assemblies were formed through the self-assembly of a pentapeptide containing DOPA residues, Asp-DOPA-Asn-Lys-DOPA. The design of this peptide was based on the minimal amyloidogenic recognition motif of the human calcitonin hormone, Asp-Phe-Asn-Lys-Phe, the first amyloidogenic pentapeptide identified. By substituting phenylalanine with DOPA, we obtained DOPA-functionalized amyloid-like assemblies in water. Electron microscopy revealed elongated, linear fibril-like nanometric assemblies. Secondary structure analysis indicated the presence of amyloid-characteristic β-sheet structures as well as random coil structures. Deposition of silver on the DOPA-incorporated assemblies suggested redox activity and demonstrated the applicative potential of this novel nanobiomaterial.
Nanomaterials2014, 4(3), 712-725; doi:10.3390/nano4030712 - published 18 August 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Ordered mesoporous SBA-15 analogs with different Si/Al ratios were successfully prepared in a two-step process from self-assembly of ZSM-5 nanoseeds at high temperature in mildly acidic media (473 K, pH 3.5). The obtained products were characterized as SAXS, XRD, N2 sorption, FTIR, TEM, NH3-TPD, AAS and ICP. The results show that the initial Si/Al molar ratio of ZSM-5 precursors strongly affects the final materials’ properties. A highly condensed, well-ordered mesoporous SBA-15 analog with improved hydrothermal stability and acidic properties can be prepared from low aluminum containing ZSM-5 precursors (Si/Al ≥ 20). Reducing the initial Si/Al molar ratio to 10, however, leads to the formation of a disordered mesoporous SBA-15 type material accompanied by degraded textural and acidic properties. The gas phase cracking of cumene, carried out as probe reaction to evaluate Brønsted acidity, reveals that an increased density of Brønsted acid sites has been achieved over the SBA-15 analogs compared to conventional Al-SBA-15 due to the preservation of zeolite building units in the mesopore walls of the SBA-15 analogs.